Teko has very kindly offered product sponsorship and will be providing my socks for the Odyssey. Their mission statement is to make ‘best sock on the planet and the best socks for the planet’, and I have to agree. I have for some time used their ultralight merino mini crew socks for winter running. They are a great fit and keep my feet blister free and cosy. What more could you ask? This is where the 2nd part of the Teko mission statement comes in: making socks with the least impact on the environment. This is wholly appropriate given my destination, one of the last great wildernesses on the planet. So, a perfect alignment of needs and ethics.
I was supplied with a good array of socks to try out ranging from running crews to light, mid weight and heavy weight hiking, as well as liners. All socks contain merino wool, which for me is a must have. I have found that all socks have their merits. The overall fit of the socks are good and to size. They are lightweight and in the case if the light hiking socks very fine – one of the benefits of merino. They wash well and do not lose their stretch. There are no annoying seams or lumps so less potential for friction and blisters. The cushioning is subtle and well placed on the cushioned socks. Socks for all requirements and preferences. The test was then to find the right combination of socks that would keep my feet warm, but not too warm and also blister free. In addition to that I needed to select socks that would be suitable for when I am in camp and not running.
The latter decision was easy: heavy weight and mid weight hiking which can be worn over a liner sock or a lightweight hiking. Decision made. The heavy weight hiking sock is one of the thickest socks I have ever come across, and I could feel the insulation the moment I pulled it on. It is a workhorse of a sock designed for extreme conditions.
Selecting the socks to run in was not so easy. My kit list advises a double layer of socks, a liner and a heavier weight one.
The liner sock was lightweight but when I added a sock on top I felt there was a capacity for friction and also that the layering was maybe just a little think. I then looked at using the a running crew as a liner. A couple of the pairs of the running crews were designed for use in higher temperatures and had light cushioning. On these 2 counts they were rejected as candidates for Antarctica. I have never been a lover of cushioned socks and when combined in a layering approach it felt just too bulky.
That left me with my beloved ultralight mini crew. They feel like a 2nd skin and have served me well thus far so I will stick with them as my liner.
The next decision what what to put on top of them and my gut was telling me a light hiking of which there were several to try out. The aim was to keep it lightweight but warm and with no or minimal cushioning. The great thing about merino is that it is lightweight and fine. after a number of runs and much indecision I decided that there were 3 main contenders: the organic SN3RGI light hiking evolution fit, the organic merino light weight hiking which has a higher percentage of merino, and the organic SN3RGI womens light minicrew evolution fit which I cannot find on the Teko website. The plan is to take all three and let the conditions determine which I wear.
One final decision: would I need a mid-weight sock for running in the event of the temperatures being lower than expected? Better cover that option and so an extra pair of the mid-weight hiking that I had selected for general wear.
There we have it. Another part of the kit list sorted.
Many thanks Teko. I know that my feet will be warm and comfortable, and that I will come home with all my toes intact.